Mike Pompeo spent over $10,000 in taxpayer funds on engraved pens for the costly Madison Dinners: watchdog

Mike Pompeo spent over $10,000 in taxpayer funds on engraved pens for the costly Madison Dinners: watchdog

Now that a Democratic president, Joe Biden, is in the White House, Republicans have suddenly rediscovered fiscal conservatism and concern for the national deficit. But when Donald Trump was still president, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — according to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — "spent more than $10,000 in taxpayer funds on engraved Madison Dinner-branded pens that he gifted to attendees of the notorious dinner parties."

CREW reports that it obtained that information following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

"The guests included high-profile Republican donors, who could be politically useful if Pompeo runs for office in the future," CREW reports. "This new disclosure brings the total amount of taxpayer funds spent on the dinners to at least $50,000 — several thousand more than previously reported."

The newly obtained records, according to CREW, "reveal that the pens, which were custom-embossed with Madison Dinner logos, cost the (State) Department at least $10,433 for a total of 400 pens."

Pompeo, as secretary of state, complained about "Chinese trade abuses that cost American jobs and strike enormous blows to the economies all across America." But according to CREW, the engraved Madison Dinners pens that cost U.S. taxpayers more than $10,000 were made in Mainland China and shipped to the United States.

CREW reports, "One employee from the (State) Department's Office of the Chief of Protocol spent an inordinate amount of time procuring the pens, sending more than a dozen e-mails to the vendor over the span of several weeks in July and August 2018. The e-mails show the employee — whose name the agency redacted for 'personal privacy' reasons — corresponding with a sense of urgency."

In an e-mail, that employee wrote, "When is the soonest you could get the sample to us by? Would it expedite things to send one of the pens we already have to have 'Madison Dinners' added to the barrel, as opposed to having a whole new pen made?"

The employee, according to CREW, also wrote, "Any word on the one rush pen? Are we going to be able to have it in hand by tomorrow?"

CREW notes, however, the engraved pens were hardly the only expense associated with the Madison Dinners.

"This $10,000 bill to taxpayers is just one piece of what appears to be a larger pattern of (Mike and Susan Pompeo) abusing government resources for personal gain," CREW explains. "If pens alone cost $10,000, the dinners themselves may well be significantly more expensive than shown in the receipts the State Department has so far turned over to CREW."

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